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Nov 9, 2021
This week’s theme
Counterpart words

This week’s words
materteral
attrite
autonym
exoteric
spear side

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with Anu Garg

attrite

PRONUNCIATION:
(uh-TRYT)

MEANING:
adjective: Regretting one’s wrongdoing only because of the fear of punishment.
verb tr., intr.: also attrit (uh-TRIT)
1. To wear down, erode, or weaken through sustained attacks, friction, etc.
2. To reduce the size of a workforce by not replacing those who leave.
3. To drop out from a course of study, job, training, etc.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Latin attritus (worn down), past participle of atterere (to rub against), from at- (to/toward) + terere (to rub). Earliest documented use: 1475. A counterpart of the adjectival form of this word is contrite, describing someone who is genuinely repentant.

USAGE:
“His heart is ‘attrite’ ... there will be parts of his life that he must deeply regret, parts that will not fit.”
Philip Kitcher; Joyce’s Kaleidoscope; Oxford University Press; 2009.

“Would it be death by 100 cuts as they nicked up the rent and attrited our spirit with a collapsed infrastructure (the toilet at my end of the hall had been clogged for a month) or would they simply burst in and begin defenestrating us?”
Larry Duberstein; The Day the Bozarts Died; Permanent Press; 2015.

“The coastline shifts, sands attrite and recede with little regard to human desires.”
Dominick Mazzagetti; The Jersey Shore; Rutgers University Press; 2018.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
For all our conceits about being the center of the universe, we live in a routine planet of a humdrum star stuck away in an obscure corner ... on an unexceptional galaxy which is one of about 100 billion galaxies. ... That is the fundamental fact of the universe we inhabit, and it is very good for us to understand that. -Carl Sagan, astronomer and writer (9 Nov 1934-1996)

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